The Human Centipede is easily one of the most fascinating premises concocted in the 2010s. A madman satisfies his insane curiosity by attaching three people together through their gastric systems. This intriguing horror film made its way into theaters back in April 2010 and it had movie audiences buzzing for a hot minute. Currently, The Human Centipede is at a 49% rotten tomatoes score, with critics being divided on whether the film is genius or a waste of time.
Following the minor success of the first independent film, Tom Six made two more vile and grotesque sequels that are pretty much trashed by both critics and fans alike. However, there’s no denying, The Human Centipede is one of the most original horror films to be released in the last two decades. Unfortunately, that’s really where the praise ends. Let’s examine why The Human Centipede is one of the worst horror movies ever made.
Tom Six Fails To Capitalize On The Film’s True Potential
As previously mentioned, The Human Centipede is one of the most fascinating premises to enter the horror landscape in years. Tom Six could’ve made something truly unique and special in the vein of Teeth or Slither. The film starts out okay and builds decently (despite some clearly idiotic choices by the protagonists) but The Human Centipede loses steam once the centipede is fully formed. Tom Six doesn’t take advantage of his interesting premise like Teeth or Slither does. While the visual of the human centipede is appealing, there’s nothing that makes it stand beyond the title name.
There’s nothing horrific about the creature as it’s just three scared humans attached from mouth to ass. There’s nothing scary because the situation is not relatable in the slightest. The best horror films tap into a deep fear that could possibly happen to us someday. Of course, no one expects an alien to burst out of their chest, or to be brutally murdered in their dreams; however, Alien and A Nightmare on Elm Street managed to make the “What if” factors incredibly haunting and frightening thanks to the strikingly visuals and tension building throughout the film. Six just doesn’t have fun with the premise, he quickly forms the centipede without much tension building and the big “what if” factor is a big “meh”. The filmmaker also makes The Human Centipede unnecessarily too serious for a premise that sounds silly.
The “mad scientist creates an abnormal creature” has been done before and Dieter Laser does what he can with the villain role. In fact, if it wasn’t for the charisma and energy of Laser then this film would be a total bore. This is a case where the idea is better than the execution.
The Characters Are Hard To Root For
Horror films are not character-driven pieces, so a deep exploration wasn’t expected. However, we know next to nothing about the three centipedes. The two girls are horror movie dumb. Despite the obvious warning signs that something isn’t right with Dr. Heiter, Lindsay and Jenny rarely use their brain cells until the script demands they do so in the final act. We don’t even know who Katsuro is.
When we meet the male character, he’s already out cold in the doctor’s office. As mentioned previously, we need to connect with these characters. A simple scene with the two girls drinking at a bar could’ve been perfect for understanding who Lindsay and Jenny are. What their goals are. There dreams. Whether they’re likable or not. Six makes the mistake of instantly thrusting audiences into the action, thinking that people will instantly feel sympathy for these characters due to their tragic situation. Wrong.
The only character with any sort of development or personality is Dr. Heiter. However, he isn’t as fun as Freddy Kreuger or Chucky nor is he as compelling as Michael Myers or Norman Bates. At the end of the day, The Human Centipede fails their characters. The plotting of the film doesn’t put the leads in the best light and the death of the two centipedes has no major effect. The terrifying notion that Lindsay, who’s stuck in the middle of two dead people (Jenny in the back and Katsuro in the front) is actually a really good ending and the only time anyone can actually sympathize with her character because the film does a decent job of building the girls friendship towards the end.
Look, there are certainly worse horror movies that have come out in the last two decades. But The Human Centipede fails at being a genuinely scary and unique experience.